FSAfarm+ Online Tool Let’s Farmers Get Data at Home

FSAfarm+ Online Tool Let’s Farmers Get Data at Home vs. Local FSA Office

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has launched a new tool that helps farmers, producers and landowners access their FSA farm information from the comfort of their own homes or farm offices.  With the launch of FSAFarm+, any farmer can now search, view, and print any FSA farm data without having to visit the local county FSA office. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t stop visiting your local office, but rather gives you a way to look at crop acreage maps and more without having to make a trip to town.

The program, known as FSAfarm+, provides you with secure access to view your personal FSA data, such as base and yields, Conservation Reserve Program data, other conservation program acreage, Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation status information, field boundaries, farm imagery, name and address details, contact information and membership interest and shares in the operation. This data will be available in real time, at no cost to the producer and allow operators and owners to export and print farm records, including maps. Producers also can electronically share their data with a crop insurance agent from their own personal computer.

Farm operators and owners first will need “Level 2 eAuthentication” to access the webportal. This level of security ensures that personal information is protected for each user. Level 2 access can be obtained by going to www.eauth.usda.gov, completing the required information and then visiting your local FSA office to finalize access.

For more information on FSAfarm+, the customer self-service portal, contact your local FSA office. To find your local FSA county office, click http://offices.usda.gov.

Just a few of the features of FSAfarm+ that are appealing to be able to perform from the comfort of your own office, especially in the middle of a snow storm!

  • FSAfarm+ also allows farmers, landowners and producers to search for and print their farm and tract maps. This is a great tool for anyone considering selling a farm in Indiana as well.

For more information contact your local Indiana county FSA office

Farm Safety During the 2016 Harvest

Farm Safety During the 2016 Harvest

As we approach the 2016 corn and soybean harvest here in Benton County, it’s a great time for everyone driving the county roads to take a moment and reflect on farm safety. More farm accidents occur during the fall than any other time of the year and it’s everyone’s responsibility for safety.

15020668977_7b87b76ee2_z  Farm Safety During the 2016 Harvest 15020668977 7b87b76ee2 z

Bright & Reflective SMV Signs & Flashers should be easily visible on equipment such as this planter.

Slow Moving Vehicles

One big danger during harvest are the slow moving vehicle on county roads. As farmers move equipment from field to field or haul grain on highways and rural roads, be on the lookout for flashing lights and bright slow moving vehicle signs. As a public service announcement, pay extra attention when driving on rural roads during harvest season, especially before and after work or school. Farm vehicles are large and move much slower than cars, the best advice is to slow down, pay attention and stay off cell phones while driving.

Here are a few tips for our farming friends & the general public to help make harvest is a safe one:

  • Sunsets & sunrises can be blinding during the morning or evening commute in the fall. Please, pay attention and slow down at road crossings & intersections.
  • Farmers, please make sure that Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) signs are clearly visible on all off-road vehicles. Make sure SMV signs are in good condition and properly mounted.
  • Use proper vehicle lighting & make sure your headlights and brake lights are functioning.
  • Tractors & combines should use flashers at all times while on public roads. The American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) recommends two flashing amber lights, mounted at least 42 inches high, in both the front and rear.
  • Turn on your headlights 30 minutes before sunset, until 30 minutes after sunrise. Also use headlights whenever insufficient light or unfavorable weather conditions exist. If your vehicle has automatic headlamps, check to make sure the switch is in the correct position.
  • When trailering or pulling wagons, inspect hitches to ensure they are sturdy and properly mounted before towing or heading down the road. If equipped, use the safety chains.
  • Be patient & share the road.

Benton County Sheriff Don Munson adds, “We need to remember that our local farmers are out there trying to do their job as safely as possible. Farm equipment is oversized and that means we need to exercise over-caution. Pay attention to your surroundings and be please patient.”


important FSA Dates, Deadlines & Holidays

Important Dates & Deadlines at your Local USDA Farm Service Agencyindiana-land-value-report  important FSA Dates, Deadlines & Holidays indiana land value report

The last four (4) months of the year have several important dates that all producers and Indiana farmers may want to put in their calendars. Whether you have non-insured crops and are looking for disaster assistance or simply plan to visit your local office… here are the big dates & deadlines.

September 1: Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) application closing date for value loss crops for the following year (flowers for fresh cut, onion sets, turfgrass sod, Christmas trees, aquaculture, ginseng, mushrooms, etc.)
September 5: Offices closed in observance of Labor Day
September 15: Reporting date for cucumbers (planted 6/1-8/15 in Knox County)
September 30: Reporting date for value loss and controlled environment crop (for the coming program year)
September 30: NAP application closing date for garlic, wheat, barley, rye and mint for the following year’s crop
October 10: Offices closed in observance of Columbus Day
November 1: Final application for payment for 2016 ELAP for losses occurring 10/1/2015 to 9/30/2016
November 4: Final date to submit a prevented planting claim for 2016 fall wheat with 10/20 final plant date
November 11: Offices closed in observance of Veteran’s Day
November 15: Reporting date for perennial grazing and forage crops (alfalfa, grass, mixed forages, clover, etc.)
November 15: Final date to submit a prevented planting claim for 2016 fall wheat with 10/31 final plant date
November 15: NAP application closing date for perennial grazing and forage crops (alfalfa, grass, mixed forages, clover, etc.)
November 20: NAP application closing date for apples, apricots, aronia (chokeberry), asparagus, blueberries, caneberries, cherries, grapes, hops, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries
November 24: Offices closed in observance of Thanksgiving Day
December 1: NAP application closing date for honey for the following year
December 15: Reporting date for 2016 fall mint, fall-seeded small grains
December 16: Deadline Extended: MPP-Dairy 2017 registration and election ends
December 26: Offices closed in observance of Christmas DayIndiana-soybean-crop-2014  important FSA Dates, Deadlines & Holidays Indiana soybean crop 20141

Women Farmland Owners Discussion

Free Conservation Discussion & Field Tour for Women Farmland Owners in Tippecanoe county & Surrounding Indiana County area

July 27th, 2016 and open discussion and field tour is available to any women farm and land owners at the Lilly Nature Center, located at 1620 Lindberg Road, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47906.

“We estimate that women now own or co-own between one-fourth and one-half of the farmland in the Midwest and they are very interested in farming practices that benefit the health of their land,” said Jennifer Filipiak, associate Midwest director for the American Farmland Trust. “Our goal is to connect these women with each other and with the resource professionals who can help them with their farmland management goals.”

Women Caring for the LandSM meetings bring together landowners in an informal learning format for a women-only morning discussion followed by a more in-depth look at the characteristics of healthy soil and farming practices that promote it. Female conservation professionals are on hand to answer questions and share resources.  A participant from last year’s learning circle commented that is it “wonderful to hear experts who were women sharing their information and passion.”

Following lunch, area conservationists will lead a bus tour to view conservation practices on the ground. Discussion will focus on soil health and cover crops, but will also include water quality, wildlife management and government cost-share programs.  The Women Caring for the LandSM format was developed by the Women Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN) in Iowa. “We continually hear from women how grateful they are for a women-only learning environment,” commented Bridget Holcomb, executive director of the WFAN, “and they tell us that they are able to discuss issues that they wouldn’t feel comfortable bringing up in any other setting.”

On July 27, coffee and registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the meeting will start at 9.  Lunch is provided, and the program will end with refreshments at 3 p.m.

RSVP by 5:00 p.m. Friday, July 22 to Chris Remley, Tippecanoe County Soil & Water Conservation District at (765) 474-9992, extension 3 or chris.remley@in.nacdnet.netIf you need accommodation please notify us when you RSVP.  And feel free to bring a female friend or family member, just let us know when you RSVP!

This session of Women Caring for the LandSM is sponsored by the Tippecanoe County Soil and Water Conservation District in collaboration with Women4theLand and the Women, Food and Agriculture Network. Staff from the SWCD, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other conservationists will be on hand to answer your questions.

More information can be found at the Women Caring for the Land website here:  http://www.wfan.org/our-programs/women-caring-for-the-landsm/

Article Provided by Tippecanoe County FSA Office & the USDA

Tippecanoe County FSA Office

1812 Troxel DR, STE C2
Lafayette, IN 47909

Phone: 765-474-9992
Fax: 855-374-4071

County Executive Director:
Stacy Helbert

Farm Loan Manager:
Eric Peterson

Program Technicians:
Alyssa Holt
Holly Humphrey
Holly Walters

County Committee:
Debra Kerkhove
Michael Peabody
David Swank

An Interview with Richard Brock

The Commodity & Futures Market Veteran Weighs in on Pricing the 2015 Crop

He grew up just south of Lafayette, Indiana and attended Darlington High School – today he’s known around the globe by farmers and investors for helping to take as much risk out of farming and marketing as possible. Since 1980, Richard Brock and his team of commodity experts have been producing the Brock Report, a 20 page weekly newsletter and daily market commentary, 3 times per day, on the state of corn, soybeans, livestock and more. Today, the Brock Report manages grain sales on approx. 700,000 acres in 14 states and strives to educate people on more than just the price per bushel, but market dynamics, historical trends and risk management.

richard-brock-report-johnny-klemme  An Interview with Richard Brock richard brock report johnny klemme

Richard Brock grew up near Lafayette, Indiana and is a Purdue Graduate. As the President and CEO, he has been publishing The Brock Report for more than 30 years.

I visited with Richard Brock’s team during a seminar in Lafayette, Indiana and had the opportunity to speak privately with Richard Brock himself to get his opinion on the current state of the corn and soybeans markets, pricing and go-forward plans.

The Markets Today

“We are in a supply driven weather market. Once you identify what kind of market you’re in, you can identify how those markets are going to behave.” – Richard Brock, The Brock Report   June 2015

Explain the type of market we are seeing in June 2015 and your outlook?

According to Brock, “Supply driven weather markets are very short and they cause the market to spike. Markets like this typically don’t last long and we move through them very quickly, immediately followed by a market drop. All supply driven weather markets react in the same patterns and the odds are very high that we will have a top in this market before the middle of July. It wouldn’t surprise me to the top of this market trend before the 4th of July.

We’re getting to price levels now with both corn and soybeans that are going to be significantly above what we think the market will average for the year. Our approach is to look for a place to start scale-in selling because markets like this can, in one day, (for soybean prices) have a 30-40 cent trading range and corn with a 20 cent trading range. You need to have orders sitting there on a scale-out sale or you’re not going to realize the price benefits of this weather pattern.”

How does a weather driven market affect supply?

“Unless it keeps raining for the next 2 months, the crop that is drowned out in low areas is generally offset by crops sitting in the higher ground. Traditionally speaking you don’t get a huge cut in yields in a weather rally. In fact this is perhaps only the second weather rally I have seen in 35 years that is caused by too much rain during this time of the year. All said, it’s a very unusual situation to have this kind of weather market for corn and beans here in June 2015.

Supply driven weather markets perform similar to a drought weather market except that they typically turn and go much lower. Drought markets tend to hurt yields more than rain markets. The old adage “rain makes grain” generally rings true.”

“This is a market that will present some excellent opportunities for farmers to sell into, but it’s always about timing and preparation.”

What is your take on pricing the 2015 crop?

“Our goal and objective is that sometime here before mid-July we lock in a good percentage of this years crop. If December corn futures get above $4.15 to $4.20, we’ll look at this as an opportunity to, in some cases, get as much as 70% of this new crop sold. We believe those prices are far above what the market will average. In the case of soybeans, we are looking for the market to get above $10.30 and if it does, we’ll go to nearly 70% sold for the new crop.”

“This is a rally that we will be aggressive on.” – Richard Brock, The Brock Report

Looking historically, we’re not going into a bull market like we did in 2012 and we have a very large carryover of supply. Many estimates say that today’s carryover of corn is about 1.8 billion bushels, whereas back in 2012 there were approximately 800 million bushels of carryover.

What are your thoughts on old crop sitting in storage?

“Having old crop is very similar to baseball in that, you’re in the 8th inning, down 10 to 0, and there are two outs. It’s time to start thinking about tomorrow’s baseball game, take this rally, move that old crop and start thinking about next year.”

What factors are playing a role to help the American farmer?

“First off, the opportunities to market crops at much higher price levels have been there for a long time. The market has given farmers a lot of opportunities, some have chosen to take advantage of that and some have not. Look for price rallies like the one we are in today and make the most of it by doing a lot of forward selling. Think about the technology available to increase yields, when prices are down and you need to increase revenues, there are ways to better manage your operation to get the most out of your soils. Whether it’s new planter technology with multi-hybrid & variable rate potential, or getting the most out of nitrogen and chemicals, it’s amazing what can be done today.”

There are several schools of thought on the outcome of a strong market vs. a low market, but there are plenty of good things that can come out of low prices. When markets are down, it forces people to rethink their bottom line while, improve their management skills, and puts more emphasis on every marketing decision. Whether you agree with that or not, it’s clear that pricing today’s crop means paying more careful attention to the spikes and drops. When corn was $7.50, selling at $6.00 still meant a lot of great profits, but when a break-even hovers around $4.00, missing out on 50 cents is not be taken lightly. The sentiment among the farmers, producers, and agribusiness professionals I speak with daily is that you’ve got to take the time to learn to be a solid grain marketer. Going forward what will you do differently?

I welcome your comments, feedback and suggestions on this topic and all things Ag related

– shoot me an email at johnny (at) prairiefarmland.com

Want to learn more about The Brock Report? visit them online at www.brockreport.com 

As a full service commodity marketing agency, the Brock Report offers their customers:

  • Daily Market Commentary via the web or smartphone app
  • The Brock Report Newsletter – For over 30 years, a leading source of market intelligence and insights
  • MarketEdge – highlights changes in USDA estimates, carryover, acreage & production that impacts commodity markets
  • MarketWeatherEdge – weather risk analysis and commodity market intelligence




About the Author

An Interview with Richard Brock Johnny Klemme Geswein Farms for sale

Husband, Father & Author and Land Broker

The Back Forty is a syndicated column written by Published Author & Purdue Graduate Johnny Klemme. His reporting, interviews with Ag Experts and more can be found at www.Prairiefarmland.com/blog

Grain Bin Storage Loans from FSA

The USDA recently announced an updated and expanded Farm Storage and Facility Loan program, helping farmers invest into grain bin storage and upgrade corn & soybean storage grain legs with low-interest loans for financing these capital improvements.

In addition to offer low interest rates on grain bin construction loans, the USDA has lessened the security requirements for loans up to $100,000.

No longer are farmers required to put a lien on farm real estate or farmland, only a promissory note/security agreement is required for these low interest loans up to $50K.

Construction loans for grain bins and grain bin storage with low interest rates  Grain Bin Storage Loans from FSA farmland marketing selling farms indiana

Consult with your local FSA office or local bank to determine how to best pursue the construction of grain bins on your farm.

As with other USDA programs, the loans for the construction of grain bin storage must fall into eligible commodity categories and corn and soybean  storage in Indiana meet this requirement

It is always advised that you consult you local FSA Agent and Indiana county office about this loan program and what interest rates you may qualify for to build grain bins and grain storage on your farm.

For more information visit  www.fsa.usda.gov

Drainage Water Management

Taking Tile to the Next Level

Part 1 of a 2 part series

In agricultural communities across the country there continues to be shift in thinking about the on-farm practice of drainage (think tile) to water management. Every season, more and more producers across the state of Indiana are implementing more than pattern tile systems and moving toward fully controlled Drainage Systems – giving farmers control over the amount of sub-surface water in their fields at any time of the season.

During times of the year when farms don’t require as much water, farmers can manage the amount that is held in the subsoil. With a Drainage Water

Utilizing a control structure (above or below the ground), farmers with Drainage Water Management Systems can decide when and to what extent they want their tile systems to operate.  Drainage Water Management drainage water mgmt illustration Frankenburger

Utilizing a control structure (above or below the ground), farmers with Drainage Water Management Systems can decide when and to what extent they want their tile systems to operate.

Management (DWM) System, landowners get all of the benefits of getting rid of the excess water when it’s not needed as well as draining no more water than necessary from the field. Additionally, with DWM systems, there is a reduction in nutrient runoff reducing nitrate pollution to waterways, ponds, and our interconnected water systems.

  1. With controlled drainage, farm fields achieve full drainage before getting out for field operation.
  2. During the growing season, drainage can be reduced to keep critical moisture in the soil.
  3. In the fallow (post-harvest), productivity & conservation benefits combine when drainage can be turned off completely to retain the water soluble nutrients in the soil profile and reduce run-off.

Two leading factors that influence yield and productivity are excess water and the lack of water during critical plant growth periods.  Research at universities such as Purdue, Minnesota, and Kansas are producing results that show significant increases in yields and reduction in nitrate levels in drainage water. Chris Freeland, the Ag Drainage Project Manager at Dwenger Excavating told us that, “DWM has the capacity to bump yield several percent when managed properly.” According to a study conducted by Purdue University, nitrate level run-off can be reduced by an average of 20% annually.*

Drainage Water Management promises a lot of benefits, but it’s not meant for every farm or field. “Until you know what the challenges are for your field, and have made a solid plan, you can’t justify an investment in DWM,” added Freeland. In her ten (10) years of experience in soil and water management, Chris has helped design pattern tile and DWM systems for landowners across West Central Indiana and as more and more people look to farm smarter in response to rising input costs, Freeland recommends the following to anyone considering DWM on their own farms.

  • Identify Your Goals & Objectives

    Whether the end result you seek is based on productivity gains, water conservation in your soils or if you are worried about potential legislation regarding nitrate runoff, your goals should be identified upfront to ensure the system meets your needs and budget.

  • Create a Plan

    Once you’ve identified the benefits you want to achieve in a DWM system, the local NRCS office can help with a Conservation Activity Plan (known as a CAP 130). This plan is used to determine feasibility, action steps, cost analysis, and ROI. Those interested should contact their district conservationist to get the ball rolling. In many cases, NRCS/EQUIP funding is available to hire a certified technical services provider to create the plan for you.

  • Economics / ROI

    Once you have completed a DWM CAP 130 plan with the NRCS, it’s time to look at the economics. How well can your investment in DWM be justified in yield gains, input savings, and conservation benefits? There are higher upfront costs associated with a DWM system, but when yield is considered a multiplier over time, the economic feasibility for your fields will become much clearer.

According to the USDA’s Indiana County Acres Summary**, nearly 80,000 acres or 30% of the farms in Benton County are ideally suited for DWM, with over 40% of the cropland acres in White County and approximately 18% of Tippecanoe County farms. While those numbers seem large, there are limitations to DWM including higher upfront costs, having the right soil profiles, slope, and topography.  Regardless of your goals, there remains a lot of opportunity to consider how Drainage Water Management could affect your farming operation.

Pros of Drainage Water Management

  • Water Conservation, helpful in times of drought
  • Improved Water Quality downstream
  • Yield Multiplier / Production Benefits
  • NRCS/EQUIP Funding available

Cons of Drainage Water Management

  • Higher upfront cost
  • Must have the right soils
  • Topography / Slope limitations

It’s worth noting that Drainage Water Management and Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) is not the same thing. SDI is an extension of DWM and once a DWM system is in place, you’re really just a few steps away from accomplishing Subsurface Drip Irrigation, a topic we’ll drill into in part 2 of this series.

Drainage Water Management and Subsurface Drip Irrigation have become very compelling production practices for the farmer of today and tomorrow. With potential for long-term yield boosts in both good and bad weather years, the risk vs. reward of these investments continue to paint a picture that as Chris Freeland puts it, “is more about farming smarter, keeping one of your biggest assets (your soil) as healthy as possible, and developing management practices that have the potential to boost productivity year over year.”

About the Author

Drainage Water Management Johnny Klemme Geswein Farms for sale

Husband, Father, Author, Land Broker & Advisor

The Back Forty is regular column written by Published Author, Purdue Graduate and Farmland Broker Johnny Klemme. His reporting, interviews with Ag Experts and more can be found at www.PrairieFarmland.com/blog



*Drainage Water Management Impacts on Nitrate Loads in Indiana. – Dr. Jane Frankenberger, Roxanne Adeuya, , Nathan Utt, Eileen Kladivko, Laura Bowling, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Purdue University, 2009 – 2012.

**Indiana Cropland Suitable for Drainage Water Management. – USDA Central National Technology Support Center, 2011.

Illustration Credit, Dr. Jane Frankenberger Purdue University.

The Risk & Reward of Farm Data

For many years “Precision Agriculture” and “Big Data” has given early adopters a leg-up in terms of efficiency and bottom line decisions – for others, the topic remains uncharted territory where the pros and cons are a topic of regular conversation.

No matter your preference of machinery, monitors, or software there are several aspects of farm data that should be on your list of concerns; including privacy, security, and how farm data is becoming increasingly valuable to the landowner.

“Right now there are  no real laws on the books that address farm data and no real laws protecting the rights of farmers with respect to their data.”

Todd JanzenAgricultural Law Attorney

Renowned as a legal pioneer in the emerging areas of Ag technology, data and policy, Janzen first made a name for himself leading the charge to preserve the Right to Farm Act, which protects farmers from nuisance lawsuits. Janzen is currently the chair of the American Bar Association’s Agricultural Management Committee.

Todd Janzen, Agricultural Law attorney in Indianapolis is a legal pioneer in Ag technology and policy.  – photo provided  The Risk & Reward of Farm Data Todd Janzen Agricultural Attorney

Todd Janzen, Agricultural Law attorney in Indianapolis is a legal pioneer in Ag technology and policy. – photo provided

Born on a small farm in Kansas and now based in Indianapolis, Janzen is known across the country as a leader, paving the way for the protection of farmer’s rights to the data they collect in field.

Your right to privacy and ownership of your farm data can have a major long term impact on yield, input costs, and land values. Jim Shertzer of FARMServer, a data analytics company born from Beck’s Hybrids, had this advice for farmers and landowners, “Before you sign any contracts for software or data collection, make sure you ask a series of questions about who has access to your data and how you can get all of it back.“

5 Important Factors to Consider

  • Collecting the Data

    The first and most important step in the technology evolution of farming is to simply collect your data. “Farmers have always had this data, it’s just that it might be sitting in notebooks, spreadsheets or hard drives in a lot of locations,” commented Shertzer of FARMServer, “Getting everything into one place (while keeping a backup up copy) represents one of the biggest opportunities to be more successful in the future,” he added.

  • Calibrate Equipment Regularly

    Just as you change filters, oil, and tighten belts, the equipment that is measuring, monitoring, and collecting your farm data needs to run like a well-oiled machine. Make sure you’re running the latest software updates and that your hardware is calibrated regularly. Collecting accurate data is vital to making informed decisions that affect your bottom line. Clean data is just as important as collecting it.

  • Store Data in Safe Place

    Your data is valuable and it’s why big companies are investing so much money into this space. Over time, the data you collect will take up plenty of hard drive storage space and keeping it safe is key to long term profitability. Even if you are using cloud-based software, be sure to make a local backup copy on an external hard drive such as ioSafe or computer. This is especially important in the event that you switch software vendors in the future or sell the farmland. Being able to provide historical data about yields, fertility, and rainfall continue to be ‘on the radar’ to savvy buyers of farmland – the data sets you collect have the potential to influence land value.

  • Farm Data in Leases

    Lease provisions for the ownership or shared ownership of farm data is a topic that is being talked about more and more often. “Savvy farmers, landowners and investors understand that data is one of the best indicators of production value,” commented Todd Janzen.  Janzen predicts that “eventually the law will establish that the “farmer” owns farm data. That means the tenant is the “farmer” and thus de facto owner of the farm data their equipment generates on the leased land.” If this is the case, a farm lease may need to clarify ownership of data and how the rights are to be assigned to the landowner. At the end of the day, consulting with your attorney is the best advice to follow.

  • Your Right to Privacy & Security

    Back in November of 2014, the American Farm Bureau Federation, along with major players such as DuPont Pioneer , John Deere, Dow AgroSciences, National Corn Growers Association and Beck’s Hybrids to name a few, signed and released the “Privacy and Security Principles of Farm Data.”  This document set the benchmark across the United States governing the use of farm data collected from farms via sensor equipment hardware and software. Several of the companies that have signed this document are also in the farm data information business, helping producers collect data and analyze it – some offering services for free and others for a premium feature price.

    The companies that signed off on this document have all agreed that farmers / producers own all of the data collected on the farms they own or lease, and that the producers have the right to control who gets access to said data. As an example, a farmer/producer has the right to allow or prevent their data to be shared with other agribusinesses, CPA’s, attorneys, or landowners/landlords as well as larger nationwide data collections. It’s worth noting that farm data tools like FARMServer (along with other farm management software) make it easy to share or limit the data you share with whomever you choose, giving you the control of the privacy and security.

“Our goal is to simplify precision Ag for farmers by first and foremost ensuring that the farmers own the data. From there it’s about secure web-based platforms that we have built ourselves – we don’t store data on another (third party) platform, this lets us build in more security and privacy.”

Jim ShertzerFARMSERVER Lead

 Todd Janzen suggested in our interview that, “Producers should have a conversation with their technology provider and find out their policy on farm data ownership. Ask them who they share it with and make a determination on whether they have your (the producer’s) best interests in mind.”

We can’t prevent the technology evolution in Ag, but we can influence the way we adapt and move forward with it. The stacks of spiral notebooks that detail the history of weather conditions, hybrid selections, input costs, and your yield maps really tell the story of your farms. When compiled and analyzed, your farm data is extremely valuable to you and to others.

Preserving and protecting your farm data has evolved to become just as important to the farm operation as the other inputs and outputs – everything can be measured and managed. Many would agree that the rewards of doing so far outweigh the risks, but in today’s world a simple ‘click of the mouse’ means you have agreed to all the terms and conditions your software or hardware provider has set forth.

How you value your rights to ownership and privacy of data are decisions only you can make, but it’s definitely worth taking a closer look, asking the right questions, and protecting your rights.


About the Author

The Risk & Reward of Farm Data Johnny Klemme Geswein Farms for sale

Husband, Father, Author, Land Broker & Advisor

The Back Forty is regular column written by Published Author, Purdue Graduate and Farmland Broker Johnny Klemme. His reporting, interviews with Ag Experts and more can be found at www.PrairieFarmland.com/blog

Local Farms Get a Bird’s Eye View | UAVs on Benton County Farms

Every season we see local farmers checking fields, counting bean pods, inspecting ears of corn or checking for damage dealt out by Mother Nature. While field scouting isn’t new, the methods and tools available continually evolve. New technology, in the form of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) aka Drones, has made its way onto many local farms. This month I talked shop with several area farmers about their thoughts and experience with UAVs. While the uses are varied, the consensus is that a bird’s eye view of the farm can have a real impact.

“When you fly over you get an immediate sense of the whole field and a better perspective of your crop,” says agronomist Jason Carlile of Otterbein.

For the past two seasons, Jason has utilized his personal UAV to scout his fields; identifying issues affecting yields as well as opportunities to improve the bottom line.Carlile’s approach to Agronomy and customer service blends years of practical on-the-farm experience with the latest in technology – giving his farm land and seed customers an edge in terms of weather impact and timing of chemical applications to fields.

“When we can see an entire field that hasn’t tasseled, we can gauge how effect fungicide will be,” says Carlile. “This equates to bottom line value and real dollars.”

How Agricultural Drones Can Help Farmers

  • Early Detection of Weed Pressure

  • Identifying Streaks / Nitrogen Deficiency

  • Timing of fungicide applications

  • Identify the extent of wind / hail / drainage Issues

  • Assist decision-making for input expenses

Most farmers would agree that the first ten (10) rows of a field do not tell the entire story. But, which direction do you go to get the full picture? Is 100 feet in the field far enough? 500 feet?  “When you catch problems in the field early on, before they get bad, there is a real impact on the bottom line. Aerial scouting can accomplish this and save me time,” commented Doug Brummet.

Consider this scenario: A big storm, with high winds and hail passes through Benton County. On the drive to the coffee shop you notice outside rows are damaged… But what does your entire field look like?  “A flyover after a wind event or hail storm would be very beneficial,” said another local producer.  Crop insurance is there for you, but a whole field photo or video goes a long way toward peace of mind.

In terms of input costs and ROI, Mark Flook added, “As margins tighten, an investment into aerial scouting could really provide great ROI. A better handle on crop conditions can help with a more informed decision; that can be the difference in several bushels per acre.”

While aerial field scouting can give people a real sense of confidence in their cash crop, seed, and chemical investments there are some restrictions and limitations. Currently the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not allow agricultural drones to be used for commercial purposes. There are also privacy concerns as well as air restrictions that have to be taken into account. The story about the future of agricultural drones is still unfolding; currently they fly a fine line between regulation and agronomic value.

If your great-grandpa had told a story that someday tractors would practically drive themselves, he might have gotten some good laughs at the kitchen table. With aerial field scouting already a reality, what kind of stories will the next generation be telling about the family farm?

In related news, read more about how Benton County Indiana buzzes with new Amazon wind farm

And in our interview with Max Armstrong, he talks about importance of UAVs in agriculture


Local Farms Get a Bird's Eye View | UAVs on Benton County Farms Johnny Klemme Land Broker Farm Real Estate Indiana

About the Author

Johnny Klemme is a published author, graduate of Purdue and Professional Farmland Broker. Born and raised on a local farm, his commentary, interviews with Ag experts & reporting on issues important to farming and land real estate can be found at www.PrairieFarmland.com

Committed to helping you achieve the highest returns

As leading experts in farmland and wooded property sales & auctions, we provide a complete range of services in the acquisition and sale of your farm land and agricultural investments.